ARE YOU BIBLE-MINDED?

The Barna Research Group recently published the results of their study of the top Bible-Minded Cities and the Least Bible-Minded Cities in 2017. I wasn’t surprised by the results, but the results are not what interested me.

I was interested in what they mean by Bible-minded. Here is the explanation: “Individuals considered to be Bible-minded are those who report reading the Bible in the past week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches.” While the results with regard to the cities did not surprise me, I was surprised to learn that “Nationally, only 25 percent of the population is considered Bible-minded.”

Given their definition, are you Bible-minded? Do you read the Bible at least once a week and do you believe the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches? The first part of the question is easy to answer, but the second part is slippery. What makes it slippery is that not all Bible readers agree on the principles it teaches.

Certainly we should and do need to read the Bible. Pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson makes that clear when he writes, “Read the book!” I agree with the first part of his next sentence, but am uneasy with the second part of it: “The meaning is in the book; not in the information about the book.” Yes, the meaning is in the book, but the meaning is not always obvious.

Often we get help in understanding the meaning of the Bible by reading or hearing what others say about the book. As a Bible teacher, I was affirmed and encouraged by a reminder from John G. Stackhouse, Jr. in which he notes “God gave his people teachers, as the Bible itself affirms, precisely because much of the Bible is not easily understood.” As we read the Bible we can benefit in understanding the principles it teaches by consulting trusted teachers of the Bible.

I wish the research group’s description of what it means to be Bible-minded added a third criterion. To be Bible-minded, I would add one needs to submit to and obey the principles the Bible teaches. That’s Jesus point in his close to the Sermon on the Mount about two builders (Matthew 7:24-27). Hearing Jesus’ words and putting them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. But hearing Jesus’ words and not putting them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

It is not enough just to read the Bible. Nor is it enough just to believe the principles the Bible teaches are true. We need to apply them in our lives. Too often we read the Bible, and strongly assert the principles it teaches are accurate, but fail to allow what we have read to shape our lives. When that happens I’m not sure we are really Bible-minded. To be Bible-minded we have to read the Bible, believe that the principles it teaches are accurate, and put those principles into action.

Are you Bible-minded?

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5 thoughts on “ARE YOU BIBLE-MINDED?

  1. Praise God for my mom who was very bible minded!!! Her example of what a Christian should be has always been with me. I follow her example of early morning bible study, praise and prayer daily and plan to do it till I’m with my Lord and Savior.

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  2. I can’t say I read my bible everyday, but multiple times each week. But I am always struck with amazement by the idea that many christians don’t consider the Bible to be without error, or to be God breathed. It is His word, as true today as it was when written. And the idea that you pointed out, is that for the Word to be completed in its mission, is to be implemented in our daily lives, not just believe what it says. To actually change our lives and to put its tenants to work in our daily living. Thanks for the message, it is a timely reminder for everyone of us to live the Word, not just read and study it.

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  3. Although I read the Bible many times a week, its application is, at times, hard for me. One of the main truths I’ve gathered from His Word is that we serve a loving God who is just and merciful and wants to have a relationship with us. This helps me most when I feel I have failed in applying the Bibleto my life.

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  4. The best study I’ve ever been in is the one I co-lead now called the 3 Question Method – what does it say, what does it mean, and what does it mean to me. This method has taught me meditation on the words which reminds me of you when in one of your sermons, you referred to “chewing the cud”. I have learned to stew a bit, read and re-read verses, as well as exploring various commentaries. Even though I have grown deeper in my faith and understanding of the Word, I still long for good and solid in-depth teaching in a classroom setting.

    Liked by 1 person

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